chronotext is a growing collection of software experiments exploring the relation between text, space and time
He liked thick word soup
Reading Ulysses with your fingers

10 years ago, an early (and now defunct) chronotext experiment proposed manipulating a long wire of text using the mouse. Two directions emerged therefrom: concrete / visual poetry on one side, and the deciphering of chaotic pieces of information on the other.

With the introduction of mobile-devices and touch-screens, it became clear that the experience of manipulating text wires with our fingers involved some interesting emotional elements. Only one piece of the puzzle remained missing: finding the right text…

James Joyce pulled no punches

Joyce's Ulysses, while the chronicle of an ordinary day, is not intended to provide an ordinary reading experience:

«The demand that I make of my reader is that he should devote his whole Life to reading my works.»
«I've put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries…»

Literary critic Steven G. Kellman had this to say:

«Membership in the self-selecting community that responds to Joyce's challenge is not a function of class, wealth, or race, but rather of stubborn ardor. Its readers are convinced of a correlation between arduousness of effort and aesthetic pleasure.»

Telemachus: 1st episode of the game. The version for tablets features several simultaneous text wires.

Corroborating with the highest authority on twitter

Ariel Malka@arielmalka – Mar 29
@UlyssesLives Touching #ulysses with at least two fingers: does it make sense?

James Joyce@UlyssesLives – Mar 29
@arielmalka No, it doesn't make sense but that's not a bad thing. Why did you make this? #Ulysses

Ariel Malka@arielmalka – Mar 30
@UlyssesLives I wanted to create a very intricate, obsessive and sensual reading experience and Ulysses seemed like the perfect text

James Joyce@UlyssesLives – Mar 30
@arielmalka You are so right about #Ulysses being that kind of read. Perfect!

Proteus: 3rd episode of the game. The version for mobile phones features a single text wire at a time.

Guided reading: «Does anybody understand?»

Not surprisingly, these are the last words of the author of Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. Any creator of non-immediately-obvious art likely shares the same fear. Accordingly, our app features a guide.

Unlike the numerous readers' guides to Ulysses, our version consists of recordings showcasing interaction with text, or a materialization of the very act of reading.

Will it be enough to captivate an audience? After all, time is limited and attention spans are short. Let's hope the seas bring a few sailors to our shores, and we'll give them the honey-sweet fruit of the lotus to eat.